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Foodie’s paradise . . . Down Under

By: - Columnist
/ 12:40 AM February 16, 2017

Our shows in Sydney and Melbourne went very well indeed! Thank you to our audiences who spent their time with us. My brother Gerard and I truly had an amazing time! After our days of work, we took an extra day to just relax and enjoy, and watch “The Book of Mormon,” currently playing at the Princess Theatre. Very briefly, we loved this production so much!

Congratulations to Ryan Bondy, AJ Holmes and the rest of that very talented and very funny Melbourne company!

I’m now moving on to one of my favorite things … food!


From previous visits to Australia, I knew that the food there would be incredible. Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables are so delicious, as are the grass-fed beef and catch-of-the-day seafood. In Sydney, we took advantage of our close proximity to the sea, [feasting on] oysters and fish, while in Melbourne, we had fusion cuisine. Let me break down how our food tripping went.

Beach Club

The day after we arrived, our friend Enda Markey took Gerard, my agent Josh Pultz and myself to Beach Club at Watson’s Bay. We decided on a lot of sushi and sashimi, plus fresh-shucked oysters, lobster, bugs (a smaller lobster) and prawns for days. And, it being a casual dining place, we just used our hands for eating.

Sure, everything was, as expected, delicious, but the standouts were the oysters. There wasn’t any of that fishy flavor that could put a patron off. Just a beautiful texture, so smooth and light.

Josh Pultz, the author, Enda Markey and Gerard Salonga

At the Beach Club (from left): Josh Pultz, the author, Enda Markey and Gerard Salonga

Café Sydney

Situated on the roof of Customs House, this restaurant offers fantastic views of the Sydney Harbor. Unfortunately, the weather was somewhat uncooperative, but no matter.

Our producer Michael Cassel brought us there … just walking distance from the Sydney Opera House. We noshed on Humpty Doo barramundi, wagyu beef cheek, prawns and Tandoori salmon, and shared a dessert plate at the end of our evening. We called it a night quite early, as we had rehearsals the following day.

The Green Room


This can be found only at the Sydney Opera House. The common green room is shared by all the Opera House’s venues, including the concert hall, the opera and drama theaters. There is ample seating on a normal day, but it can be quite a scene when all the visiting artists are having lunch or dinner. When the Helpmann Awards (Australia’s Tony Awards) takes place there, The Green Room is very full, and very fun.

Gerard had his very first jaffle (a pressed sandwich straight out of a sandwich iron), and not a few bottles of ginger beer. I fell in love with their burgers on gluten-free toast, as well as their cauliflower and garlic soup.


This Asian fusion restaurant came highly recommended by our Sofitel queen Shirley Lin. We decided to walk as a big group, and then the rain came pouring down. Thankfully, the restaurant provided something warm and comforting once we sat down and ordered. For this night, we chose the prix fixe banquet menu. Dumplings, slow cooked lamb, vegetables and that peanut butter parfait topped with chocolate for dessert! My gosh! This was such a great meal!

Hardware Societe

My friend Rosary Coloma and her cousin Hazel brought me to this very popular brunch place on Hardware Lane in Melbourne. The place is quaint and cute, and the smells coming out of there are heavenly. I had the lobster Benedict (they have lots of other great items on the menu) and wonderful short macchiatos. It was also adorable that our waitress curtsied after bringing us our food.

Lobster  Benedict

Lobster Benedict

Chin Chin

This recommendation came from so many people, both in Melbourne and Manila, that we couldn’t resist. I went with “Cats” cast mates (and married couple) Brent and Stephanie Osborne. It was an easy 15-minute walk from my hotel, and since we opted to have a late lunch, there wasn’t a long queue to get seated. We chose the “Feed Me” menu option, and just placed our trust in the chef to choose for us. No regrets! Salt and pepper squid, DIY spring rolls, braised pork, grilled fish and desserts to share. Plus their cocktails are yummy!

The Melbourne Supper Club

We visited this venue a couple of times—once after my first show in Melbourne, and then after we saw “The Book of Mormon.” I found myself addicted to their polenta chips, but also enjoyed their foie gras on toast and tacos. The rooftop is a great place to just hang out, but if you’re averse to cigar and cigarette smoke, I would suggest staying indoors. The atmosphere is comfortable and homey.

Gin Palace

Of course, I had my gin once the shows were all over! But this place, which also had great charcuterie, cheese and snack selections on the menu, also boasts a full-on cocktail menu featuring—you guessed it—gin. I picked something adventurous for the first drink, then pulled it back to something more conventional. Both were very delicious though, and it was a great way to end a fantastic night of making music.

Sushi and sashimi boat

Sushi and sashimi boat

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